British PM Rishi Sunak vows to bring back compulsory national service

The Conservative Party in Great Britain, also known as the Tories, will reintroduce conscription if they win the election, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has promised.

Every 18-year-old British man and woman will be expected to serve their country for a year under the proposed program.

Young people can choose between two options: full-time service in the armed forces or volunteering for charities or community groups on the weekends.

A Royal Commission will be established to look into the implementation of this programme.

But The sun on Sunday assumes that those who refuse to participate will not be prosecuted.

“This is a great country, but generations of young people have not had the opportunities or experiences they deserve – and there are forces trying to divide our society in this uncertain world,” Sunak said.

“I have a clear plan to tackle this problem and secure our future. I will introduce a new version of national service to create a shared sense of purpose and a renewed sense of pride in our country among our young people.”

The Prime Minister announced this radical pledge after warning that the world is more dangerous today than at any time since the Cold War.

The army is now smaller than it has been since the Napoleonic Wars 200 years ago.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said Britain was in a “pre-war world” and must be prepared for conflict with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

And Home Secretary James Cleverly said conscription would help keep the “blitz spirit” we have seen during the pandemic in check.

Exclusively in The sun on SundayHe said the plan would give Britain a three-pronged boost: it would protect the country, educate young people and create a new sense of patriotism and civic pride.

“This compulsory military service will forge common values, bind us together as a nation and develop the critical skills of our younger generations,” he said.

“Conservatives know what a great country we are, the best country in the world in fact, but we must build our resilience and insulate ourselves against future shocks. We must also protect British values, generosity, duty and patriotism, because it is our values ​​that make us great.”

The sun on Sunday is aware that the young people deployed under this program are not sent to active war zones.

National service will build on the sense of civic pride unleashed by The sun on Sunday‘s Jabs Army campaign to roll out the Covid vaccine, Mr Cleverly added.

“I hope we never face a global pandemic again, but there is no doubt that the greater security challenges we face are getting greater,” he said.

The radical election promise is the most striking announcement of the election so far.

After Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, calls for a return to military service became louder and louder.

The army chief said Britain should train a “citizen army” ready to fight on land.

In a speech earlier this year, General Sir Patrick Sanders said: “Ukraine is a brutal example of regular armies starting wars – and vigilante armies winning them.”

According to the British Ministry of Defence, the strength of the British armed forces has shrunk by a third since 2000.

Britain is completely inadequately prepared and unable to wage a “high-intensity” war, warned members of the Defence Committee.

The number of soldiers fell dramatically from 109,600 in 2000 to 76,950 last year.

The Navy shrank from 42,800 to 32,590 men. And the RAF shrank from 54,600 to 31,940 men.

There is already military service in Sweden, Switzerland and Israel.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron has announced plans to reintroduce military service.

Under the Conservatives’ plan, every 18-year-old will join either a branch of the armed forces or a cyber defence team for a year.

Or they can volunteer one weekend a month for a charity or community group, such as organisations such as the police, fire or ambulance service.

Ministers are also open to allowing older adults to do this voluntarily.

Applications for the first pilot project will be open from September 2025, before the program is rolled out nationwide to everyone by the end of the 2029/30 legislative period.

The cost is expected to be £2.5 billion ($4.8 billion) a year and will be financed with money from the UK’s Shared Prosperity Fund, which was set up to help Britain improve social status and combat tax avoidance.

The move comes amid growing concern about the number of young Britons who are neither in work nor in education.

According to the National Statistics Office, around 850,000 people aged between 18 and 24 are neither in education nor in employment or training. That is 20,000 more than last year.

It is the highest value since 2016 – and was driven by young men.

Britain introduced National Service in 1947 as the country recovered from World War II.

Able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 21 were drafted to help the nation maintain its dwindling empire around the world.

They also helped the army maintain a large garrison in post-war Germany and a smaller garrison in Japan.

Military service was abolished in 1960.

The Prime Minister’s plan comes at a time when Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is more than 20 points ahead in the polls.

The Tories are trying to narrow the gap by turning the election campaign into a national security issue, claiming that only they can arm and defend Britain and support its allies.

Mr Sunak has also promised to increase defence spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP by 2030.

Labour has stated that it will only reach the 2.5 percent target if it can afford it.

This article originally appeared in The Sun and has been reproduced with permission

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